Being a youth sports coach is a tough job. This is my third year coaching my daughter’s pee-wee league cheerleading team, and this season has tested my leadership skills like no other. As I am reflecting on the craziness of the season, I am reminded how the lessons learned while coaching children are the applicable to being a leader worth following in the workplace.


Below are 3 great lessons applicable to youth sports coaches and organization leaders alike:


1. Expand your view of who your customer is. Some of you may not even have customers in the traditional sense. One of the mistakes that youth coaches often make is that they assume their job is to coach the kids. End of story. Well, the job would be a lot easier if that were the case! It’s also critical to serve the parents, other coaches, board members and the community. Similarly in the business world, leaders often loose sight of all of their customers—employees, peers, stakeholders, the public, their family, friends, and those that benefit from the organizations products/services.


2. The job includes much more than the job description. Someone can be a great coach that teaches the kids a lot about the sport and motivates them to do their best, but if they miss the other responsibilities, the team will not be as successful as they could be. I recently had a mom let me know that she loves working with the girls and would like to coach next year. Once I let her know that the coach also has to coordinate weekly cookie bakes, send all communication to parents, make sure a banner is made is week, and coordinate extra events such as the homecoming parade and youth football night, she was not as excited to take the lead. That happens in the work place too. It’s important for a leader to be able to lead and motivate employees, but there is so much more to the job. If a leader cannot communicate well, coordinate and collaborate, keep organized, and have difficult conversations when needed, they are not hitting the mark.


3. A great attitude goes a long way. I am thankful that it’s easy for me to show up to each cheer practice, game and event with a great attitude. I must admit, it can more challenging to do that at work. It’s not because I don’t love my job, I think it’s because cheer season comes once a year and only takes 5 hours a week. So, I look forward to it. Work on the other hand is year around and takes 40+ hours a week. So, I really have to check myself at the door and make sure that I am bringing a positive attitude to all that I do. It’s contagious and creates a happier, more productive workplace!

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